Brilliant Masterpieces of the 19th and 20th Century, from Bouguereau to Picasso

14 May | New York
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Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale is a tour de force of 19th and 20th century masterpieces. On exhibition in Sotheby’s newly renovated exhibition space from 3–14 May, each work in the sale represents the complexity and dynamism of this pivotal period. Explore one of the finest examples from Claude Monet’s Haystacks series, relish Gustave Caillebotte’s bustling Paris, and savor Pablo Picasso’s spirited Mousquetaire à la pipe. Click ahead to discover more exceptional highlights from the sale.

Brilliant Masterpieces of the 19th and 20th Century, from Bouguereau to Picasso

  • Claude Monet, Meules, 1890. Estimate Upon Request.
    Claude Monet's acclaimed Meules series (commonly known as his Haystacks) found its inspiration in the fields adjacent to the artist's home in Giverny; the series takes as its principal imagery the monolithic grainstacks which dominated the harvested fields from the high summer onward. The present oil is the most evocative and glorious example from the most famed group of pictures in the nineteenth-century western canon.
  • Pablo Picasso, Femme au chien, 1962. Estimate $25,000,000 – 30,000,000.
    In its bold use of color, complexity, completeness of composition and monumental scale, Femme au chien is one of Picasso’s most evocative portraits of his wife during their years at Notre Dame de Vie and a masterpiece of the artist’s late period. The titular dog in the painting is Picasso's beloved Afghan hound, Kaboul; the pet is rendered with clear affection and humor, a nod to Picasso’s adoration of animals.
  • Pablo Picasso, Nu au chapeau, buste, 1965. Estimate $6,500,000 – 8,500,000.
    Picasso's art was closely related to his personal life, and the women depicted in his paintings were always influenced by Picasso's companions at the time. In Nu au chapeau, buste, the female figure is inspired by Jacqueline Roque, the last love of his life, whom Picasso married in 1961.
  • William Bouguereau, La Jeunesse de Bacchus, 1884. Estimate $25,000,000 – 35,000,000.
    La Jeunesse de Bacchus is a monumental and cinematic tour de force by William Bouguereau. First presented at the Paris Salon of 1884, it remained in the artist’s collection until his death, subsequently passing through generations of his descendants. The work’s emergence directly from the artist’s studio marks an unprecedented offering of a masterpiece by a titan of French Academic painting.
  • Pablo Picasso, Mousquetaire à la pipe, 1968. Estimate $20,000,000 – 30,000,000.
    One of the great subjects of Pablo Picasso's late oeuvre, the musketeer was one of a cast of psychological avatars that were a means of projecting different aspects of his own identity. This work is a particular masterpiece of the series. The face of Mousquetaire à la pipe is richly textured, the paint almost sculptural applied to a degree reminiscent of van Gogh's self-portraits which share this thick application of pigment in the face, creating a sense of dynamism and movement within the planes and bones of brow, nose, beard, mouth and eyes.
  • Fernand Léger, Le Campeur, 1er état, 1954. Estimate $6,000,000 – 8,000,000.
    Le Campeur, 1er état belongs to an important series of "country outing" pictures that Léger completed the year before he died. Inspired by Édouard Manet's famous Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe, Léger's pictures featured characters enjoying their leisure time in the great outdoors.
  • Gustave Caillebotte, La Rue Halévy, vue du sixième étage, 1878. Estimate $6,000,000 – 8,000,000.
    Caillebotte’s La Rue Halévy, vue du sixième étage is the embodiment of the new Paris that emerged in the middle of the nineteenth century. Inextricably linked to the moment it depicts, the present work contains a profound originality that demonstrates Caillebotte’s development of novel modes of representation commensurate with the experience of modern life in nineteenth-century France.
  • Joan Miró, Personnage, 1967. Estimate $5,000,000 – 7,000,000.
    The quintessential encapsulation of Joan Miró’s oeuvre, Personnage stands as a powerful expression of the artist’s late work and "living monsters." This playful yet impressive form was inspired by the mainstays of his studios; a brilliant red butcher block serves as the fulcrum of the figure, with its legs recalling the wooden stools documented in his studios over the years.
  • Paul Gauguin, Chemin sous les palmiers, 1887. Estimate $6,000,000 – 8,000,000.
    Chemin sous les palmiers epitomizes Gauguin’s fascination with the exotic and represents an enchanting vision of the artist’s life-long interest in depicting the unfamiliar. Part of a series of works Gauguin completed on his trip to the Caribbean island of Martinique, where the artist stayed from June until November 1887, the present work evokes the sensuous beauty and visual splendor of the tropics.
  • Max Beckmann, Liegender Akt in starker Verkürzung (Reclining Nude Sharply Foreshortened), 1948. Estimate $3,000,000 – 5,000,000.
    Powerfully evocative, Liegender Akt in starker Verkürzung exemplifies the boldly psychological portraits Beckmann carried out in the last decade of his career. Having endured years of war and occupation in exile from his native Germany, the danger, confinement and deprivation Beckmann had experienced during the Second World War gave rise to one of the artist’s greatest periods of invention.
  • Édouard Manet, La Femme à l’ombrelle, 1872. Estimate $1,800,000 – 2,000,000.
    Staring out boldly at the viewer, a blue umbrella perched on her shoulder and dressed in an elegant black ensemble, La Femme à l’ombrelle exemplifies Édouard Manet’s fascination with the fashion-minded women of Paris.
  • Henry Moore, Four Piece Reclining Figure, 1972. Estimate $1,000,000 – 1,500,000.
    Four Piece Reclining Figure is an extraordinary example of Henry Moore's agility at representing three-dimensional form. The sculpture consists of four separate pieces that comprise a grand structure of compelling beauty.
  • Pierre Bonnard, Nature morte à la levrette, 1923. Estimate $2,000,000 – 3,000,000.
    An exceptional encapsulation of Pierre Bonnard’s earlier oeuvre, Nature morte à la levrette marks something of a turning point in the artist’s career. While the years which would follow this work reveal an artist increasingly emboldened by color and entranced by the light of Le Midi, the present still life is one of the last allusions to the earlier Intimist style which Bonnard and Vuillard developed at the turn of the century.
  • Alfred Sisley, Les Hautes eaux à Moret-sur-Loing, 1879. Estimate $1,200,000 – 1,800,000.
    Completed in 1879, Les Hautes eaux à Moret-sur-Loing is among the first works Sisley painted in the sleepy, charming town outside of Paris that preoccupied Sisley at the height of his career. Sisley spent most of his final two decades living in and around Moret and was buried in the village upon his death in 1899.
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